Taking Chances with Kids


My husband and I waited seven years before we started trying to have kids. We felt we needed to have all of our ducks in a row before they came along, like the house we were going to live in forever, jobs we’d stay in while they grew up, friends established, a college fund already being contributed to, etc. Sure, we also got married pretty young — right out of college — and wanted some time to just be us, but all of these things were super important to me.

If you’re already a parent, I hope you’re laughing at this point.

Because guess what? We never got there! And yes, we have kids. We have twins turning six-years-old TOMORROW and here’s the truth: we thought we had everything lined up in a pretty little row, but we probably never will. Because once we found ourselves “ready” for our first sweet little baby, we got two.

But what do you say to takin’ chances?
What do you say to jumpin’ off the edge?
Never knowin’ if there’s solid ground below
Or a hand to hold or hell to pay
What do you say? What do you say?— Celine Dion

If you’d asked me those questions a few years ago, I would have responded with an emphatic no, thinking, “What do I need to take a chance on anyway?” Recently though, things have changed. A few months ago the principal of my kids’ school asked me to take some black and white photos of our sweet little town to use as decoration in some of the school’s classrooms. I got up early one morning, grabbed my camera gear and headed out the door. As I walked around, I noticed a 100-year-old building, five minutes away from my house and in the heart of my community, available for purchase. I didn’t tell my husband about it for a few days because I knew it was terrible timing for us. But once I did and we started asking questions, all of our answers were “yes.”

Suddenly, a long-seeded dream I had stored in the back of my head was coming to fruition. In just a few short weeks I’ll be the owner of my first photography studio.

The thing I’ve learned as a parent is that you don’t just help your kids learn and grow; you learn and grow together. Your needs, wants, hopes and dreams all change based on the people with whom you share a home. Whether it’s because you need more time with them or you just find yourself in search of a different way for them to grow up. This is so much of the reason why I’m making this studio come to life. My kids will be able to walk there when they are in middle school. They can bring their friends and do their homework or they can walk next store to grab a milkshake at the same small town place I did when I was in middle school. They’ll grow up with a community full of colorful characters that will undoubtedly shape and teach them. The day they were born, I could not have told you all of this was important to me, but now that I take this huge, terrifying leap, it’s so much of what I want for them!

Life truly never stops surprising you.

When we moved to Knoxville from Atlanta we found “the house.” I was so sure we’d stay there forever when we bought it, but all that changed when our babies became little people. I wanted a school system for them that I already loved, I wanted to be a part of a community that helped raise me and I wanted to be closer to my family. So we moved…twice in order to get there. And sometimes it’s not just for them; sometimes you realize that your hopes and dreams are alive and well. My husband will tell you that one of my favorite things to do is to keep him on his toes. So when I mentioned moving, it took him a while to accept the idea; then once we were settled and finally in a really great place, I brought up the idea of this photography studio.

It turns out, maybe I am a person willing to take chances. This building is certainly a big one for us, the planners who want everything tied up perfectly in a little bow. Maybe I’ll always want that too, but life isn’t about that, is it? I never thought I’d make a big career decision in the middle of my kids’ first year of kindergarten, but if I’m teaching them to go after their dreams, even the crazy ones, then it’s certainly a risk worth taking.

At the end of the day, I’m here trying to balance being a good mom, a good wife, a good photographer, and a good friend, daughter, maybe even community leader. It’s hard, but it’s also a chance worth taking.


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